I stumbled across this picture on the wibbly wobbly way this evening. It features two of my favourite musical people. It made me cry. Edwyn’s face is almost identical to the last picture I ever took of my best friend two weeks before he died last year of Glioblastoma Multiforme IV. That’s quite a mouthful I know and it’s very impressive a prognosis to drop it into conversations at dinner parties I can tell you. For those of you still not balking at the idea of a thread about cancer it’s the complete cunt of a cancer known as “The Terminator” (as in “I’ll be back”).
Like Edwyn my best friend’s face fell away on one side; in his case after brain surgery, multiple seizures and an ever bloating cocktail of bloating drugs. His face lost its chiselled jawed handsomeness and became a puff ball of optimism and determination that seemed to tell all those he loved and left behind that we should simply carry on regardless, living and hoping for something better even as he knew we knew his cause was lost. He died knowing who he was and what had killed him but he didn’t want us to suffer that shared knowledge. He never wanted pity, just a mutual understanding. No prayers or desperate conversions from atheism to theism to guarantee entry to Heaven. Just an acceptance of a shitty deal and a slightly ironical concern that we might overstate his case for legendary human being status. Small but important details like that reveal a noble and selfless form of bravery in the face of the mortal coil snapping.
As for the Arch Drude he looks like a friend from school who used to sport a very similar hair, beard and leathers combo around 1994. I met up with him again for the first time for a long time earlier this year at a gig at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club. His band were supporting some kind of Embrace MKII called One Sided Horse. His duo are called Here Are the Young Men and Uncle Peanut. I might post one of their tracks on here one day or you could always search for them online. Like Julian Cope they have a rock ‘n’ roll manifesto that doesn’t sit comfortably with the mainstream and like Julian they’re angry at many things without taking Them and Us too seriously when there’s art and shit to compensate for The Man. I love the dichotomy of his stage persona to his real persona; like Edwyn’s face, he’s really a soft puffball of optimism and hope but to the uninitiated he probably seems quite odd and threatening.
Both of these friends love(d) their music and this picture has reminded me at an important moment of my love for music and of all the life affirming connections music has helped me make with people and places over the years. Sorry, no great reveal here I’m afraid, just a small but hopefully comforting anecdote to underline why music is such a great salve when certain memories threaten to overwhelm and uncertain times monopolise your thoughts.
Here’s to life!